Erin Gardner | Lifestyle Staff Writer | firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Manson, the wild-eyed cult ring-leader died November 19, 2017, at age 83 in a hospital while in the custody of the California Department of Corrections.
His death has caused some confusion. According to California law, if a body is not claimed in 10 days by the next of kin, the body will be donated to science. Manson’s grandson Jason Freeman wanted the body, but could not afford the funds to travel from Ohio to California, so he set up a GoFundMe page. GoFundMe took the page down, presumably not wanting to affiliate itself with the killer. Because of this, Freeman was not able to get out to California, but it is still up in the air whether or not Manson’s body will be used for research.
Using Manson’s brain for medical research, specifically studying mental illness, could be a huge advancement to the mental health community. Manson suffered from schizophrenia and a paranoid delusional disorder, and his body could be used to conduct conclusive research on the link of serial killers’ motives.
Fox explains that in modern times, the cult following “has inspired, among other things, pop songs, an opera, films, a host of internet fan sites, T-shirts, children’s wear and half the stage name of the rock musician Marilyn Manson.” Now, especially after Charles Manson’s death, young teens and followers defend Manson himself, nicknaming him Charlie and edit flower crowns on his head.
Tumblr is most notable for romanticizing the killer such as “now that Charles Manson is dead, maybe people will learn to stop referring to him as a serial killer,” or “[To be honest] I don’t understand why people hate serial killers or like specifically Charles Manson lol like it’s not like you had a personal relationship with Sharon Tate or any victims like why do you f*ckin care so much..? Idk I’m not saying murder is cool but he technically didn’t do it and again who cares.” The quotes continue with “date a boy who’s favorite serial killer is also your favorite serial killer.”
Freshman Emily Gayton provides a possible rationale for the following. “I think people are curious about things and people they can’t understand more than anything. That’s why serial killers are sensationalized,” she said. “As for Manson, people are baffled about how he got people to follow him so closely, like ‘how could anyone fall for that’ and so today, because of the distance, people believe he was more than just a person.”
For example, Susan Atkins, one of Manson’s female followers says, “he personally never called himself Jesus, he just represented a Jesus Christ-like person to me.”
“People are innately fascinated by the taboo things in life because they’re forbidden to talk about,” said Hailey Holmes, a freshman studying anthropology. “I think a lot of counter-culture things go into it because they want to go against the flow to be different and to cause a reaction, upset others. I also think that people that have struggles functioning with societal norms, example murder, would latch onto those cult followings to release that energy.”
“Tumblrites” who idolize and glamorize the killers fail to have a grasp on reality. Calling Manson a serial killer carries some backlash from specific people as they claim that Manson never actually murdered anyone. He didn’t kill the victims; he assigned his followers targets and gave instructions on how the killings should be carried out. However, it is crucial to remember the victims that died because of his actions.